Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Assen:
Baz grabs career first Tissot-Superpole
Assen (the Netherlands), Saturday 26 April 2014 - Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) will start both of tomorrow’s 21-lap races from pole position after securing the first Tissot-Superpole of his career today at Assen, courtesy of his 1'34.357 lap time (a new outright best lap of the circuit) set moments before the arrival of the rain.
As we have seen already this season under the new format, the 15 minute shootout is proving to be a close and exciting addition to the Tissot-Superpole and in today’s shootout it was the turn of Baz to shine.
Joining Baz on the front row tomorrow will be fellow Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), with Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team), Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) forming the second row.
In the EVO category Niccol� Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) was the fastest qualifier in 7th position overall, improving over a second on his morning time.
Superpole 1 saw Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and Marco progress into the final fifteen minute shootout with the other ten already seeded riders following Free Practice.
Times: 1. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'34.357 average 173.291 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'34.845; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'35.311; 4. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'35.333; 5. Rea (Honda) 1'35.361; 6. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'35.476; 7. Canepa (Ducati) 1'35.500; 8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'35.646; 9. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'35.684; 10. Elias (Aprilia) 1'36.203; 11. Haslam (Honda) 1'36.284; 12. Davies (Ducati) 1'36.288.
Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) qualifies sixth in today’s Superpole at Assen
Assen (The Netherlands), Saturday 26 April 2014 – The Ducati Superbike Team unfortunately had to deal with the onset of rain during Superpole 2 this afternoon at Assen. In what was the third Superpole of the 2014 Superbike season, and after yesterday’s positive results, Davide Giugliano qualified in sixth position for tomorrow’s races; Chaz Davies twelfth.
In the final timed practice session which took place this morning on the Dutch track, Davide and Chaz continued to work to refine the set-up of their 1199 Panigale bikes. In similar temperatures to yesterday’s first practice, Giugliano did not manage to improve on his impressive time set yesterday afternoon but thanks to that time, which remained unbeaten in today’s session, the Italian rider qualified directly for Superpole 2, in overall first position. Davies unfortunately closed practice outside of the top ten, in twelfth position overall, thus qualifying for Superpole 1 (together with the other riders who placed eleventh to twentieth in the combined practices).
Superpole 1: conditions remained dry for this first Superpole phase. Davies was straight out on track, making two laps with the race tyre, the fastest of which – a 1’35.9 – positioned him first. He quickly returned to the track with the qualifying tyre, and improved on his time as well as recording the fastest time of the session overall (1’35.5). The Ducati Superbike man therefore concluded this phase of the Superpole in overall first position, thus gaining safe passage to Superpole 2.
Superpole 2: both Davies and Giugliano decided to make a first exit on the race tyre. Subsequently returning to the track with qualifying tyres, both riders were pushing hard to complete fast laps when rain began to fall in every sector of the track. Unfortunately the change in conditions prevented both riders from improving any further, meaning that Giugliano therefore concluded the session in sixth position and Davies twelfth. The Ducati Superbike pair will line up on the second and fourth row of the starting grid for tomorrow’s races.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 6th (1’35.476)
“In the end the rain made its presence felt. I went out on the qualifier and was trying to make my fastest lap, a pity but it was useless trying to improve on my time in those conditions. Anyway, we’ve been working well in preparation for tomorrow’s races which will both be difficult I think. It’s a tough track from a physical point of view and then there are five or six riders that are going really well here.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 12th (1’36.288)
“Today’s been fairly difficult. I should have gone straight out on the qualifier in the second Superpole, to beat the rain, but unfortunately we didn’t do that and so I was unable to improve my position. It didn’t help that we didn’t have a fresh race tyre for the session, having already used it in SP1. Anyway, that’s our grid position; we still have work to do tomorrow morning because we’re still experiencing some chattering at the front of the bike.”
Weekend schedule (CET):
8.40 – 8.55 – SBK Warm-up
10.30 – SBK Race 1
13.10 – SBK Race 2
FIRST AND SECOND ROW FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM AT ASSEN.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI JUST MISSES POLE POSITION AND AN EXCELLENT FOURTH PLACE JUST BEHIND THE FRONT ROW FOR MELANDRI.
Assen (Holland), 26 April 2014 – The Assen Superpole further established Aprilia's consistent improvement on the track during the Saturday sessions. Both Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri gained confidence lap by lap without losing sight of the primary objective which was finding the best way to manage performance in view of the races. A lot of work and a strategy that paid off at the end of the day: Sylvain Guintoli took the second spot on the grid after an extraordinary lap on a race tyre and after missing out on the opportunity to improve his time on a qualifier as rain began to fall.
Marco Melandri, who came through Superpole 1 without any issues, also rode his RSV4 to the second row, just shy (22 thousandths of a second) from the front. The rider from Ravenna is also encouraged by his overall feeling which is steadily growing. And there is still some room for improvement that he will be trying to exploit with his mechanics.
The Superpole 2, session in which the top 12 qualified riders participate, had Sylvain Guintoli starting off on a race tyre to put his first time on the board, intending to mount a qualifier later to make a play for the pole. The intermediate times the Frenchman posted quickly raised the adrenaline level in the Aprilia garage: with record performance, spoiled only at the end of the lap when he was forced to overtake, Sylvain started his second try with pole position in his sights. This sensation was confirmed throughout the first half of his lap on a Superpole tyre until a few drops of rain convinced him not to take any unnecessary risks, in any case earning the second spot on the starting grid.
Sylvain Guintoli: “We made a lot of progress today, session after session, and Superpole was confirmation of that. I was fast and had a good feeling straight away. All of this is encouraging for me in view of the races tomorrow. It's always a shame to lose pole position when you know you could have taken it, but starting from the front row is an excellent result, especially on a track like this one. We have also taken a big step forward in terms of race pace and tomorrow, weather permitting, we will definitely be in the mix.”
Marco Melandri's garage also put in an excellent performance, reassured by a superbly executed Superpole. The performance put in by the rider from Ravenna, which earned him the first spot on the second row, brought him just 22 thousandths behind third place. This starting position is encouraging given the confidence Marco has developed during today's sessions. But the Italian rider will be looking for further improvements and his work in preparation for the races tomorrow will focus on this objective.
Marco Melandri: “The second row is an excellent start point in any conditions. We have gotten a lot better in the dry. The guys have worked hard and my feeling on the RSV4 increased lap after lap. If it's a wet race the deck will be shuffled but being up front for the start will help me in terms of visibility. I'm quite pleased. We can still make some changes that will help us make up some ground, especially regarding consistency throughout the entire race. It will be difficult and I'll be in the thick of it.”
Superpole hopes dashed by Assen shower
This afternoon’s second Superpole session was dramatically affected by a short rain shower as Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam fought for final grid positions in tomorrow's two third-round World Superbike races at Assen in the Netherlands.
The Superpole 2 competitors, including both Rea and Haslam, had just completed an initial flying lap on race rubber to get a good feeling for the 4.542km Assen circuit and had entered the pits to switch to Pirelli qualifying tyres.
As they got up to speed, the rain effectively aborted the fast laps of both Rea, who finished fifth fastest and starts from the second row, and Haslam, who was 11th. Pole position was taken by Loriz Baz, who managed to complete his own lap before the rain fell.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for further rain during tomorrow’s two 21-lap races at Assen, the first of which goes at 10.30 local time, the second at 13.10.
Jonathan Rea - P5, 1m35.361s
Superpole was strange because, just as we changed for the qualifying tyre, the rain came and only two riders were able to complete their laps. We didn’t really get the chance to show our full potential but we did a lot of work this morning on our race set-up with the option tyres. We’re satisfied with our pace but we’ll just have to see what the weather brings because it’s forecasting changeable conditions. The bike is working really well and we’ve got on top of our engine braking issues. Our speed is fast, but we need to be a little more consistent when the tyre drops. Obviously it would be better for everyone if it stays dry tomorrow because all the set-up work has been done in the dry. But, if it’s wet, it’s the same for everyone. We have an OK wet set-up after we did some wor k in Jerez, but what will be will be. The aim to is to get a good start tomorrow and go with the front group and then to see what that brings us.
Leon Haslam - P11, 1m36.284s
We tried three different race tyres today, concentrating on the harder options more than anything. They don’t feel too bad but we’re just lacking a little bit of pace. I think we’ve got a good step to try with our engine braking in the morning and I’m quite happy with the chassis settings that we’ve had today. I was confident going into Superpole this afternoon but we just got caught out by the rain, like a lot of people, and I didn’t get a chance to use the Q. We’ve been working on a dry set-up all weekend so, if it’s wet tomorrow, it’ll throw another spanner in the works. It’ll be the same for everyone either way, though, so I’ll just get my head down.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We got caught out by the weather this afternoon after Jonathan had done a 35.3 on his race tyre. He went out on a qualifier but it started to rain so that ended his mission to park it on the front row. He still got the second row, however, and his race pace is pretty good. In normal, dry conditions, and also in the wet, I think he can fight for the podium so we’ll see what the weather brings. Leon had some problems finding a good setting here at Assen and his grid position is not what we expected. We still have work to do to see if we can improve things in tomorrow’s warm-up and hope he can have a couple of good races.
Third row for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki as rain hits Assen Superpole
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki starts tomorrow’s two eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands from the third row, as rain called time early on a promising Superpole session.
Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes had shown encouraging pace on-board their Yoshimura-powered GSX-R machines in the opening minutes of the qualifying session, both setting their fastest times of the weekend so far on race rubber. Unfortunately the darkening skies were not with the British-based team and the threatening rain descended as both Laverty and Lowes came in for qualifying tyres, with neither rider having the chance to use the fresh set due to the changing conditions.
Laverty’s time of 1’35.646 was set on his second flying lap, five minutes into the session, while Lowes recorded a 1’35.684 on his first attempt. Both riders have circulated with a steadily improving pace throughout the weekend and are primed to continue pushing forward for race-day.
The opening laps of Superpole saw a dry and pleasant 20°C at the Assen circuit but despite the late morning sunshine, the clouds thickened as the afternoon developed, resulting in the scattered showers halting proceedings. Kawasaki’s Loris Baz took Superpole with a new Assen ‘best lap’ time of 1’34.357.
With similarly uncertain conditions and the threat of rain forecast for tomorrow, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is confident that both Laverty and Lowes have the pace to run a consistent and challenging race strategy. The first wheels will turn in anger at 10:30hrs local time (09:30BST) with race two following at 13:10hrs local time (12:10BST).
“It had been a good weekend with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R until Superpole and then we got caught out by the weather! When I left on the qualifying tyre the rain started to fall so I wasn’t able to get a lap and it pushed me back to eighth position. I’m not very pleased with the starting position because I always like to be minimum front two rows, it’s going to be hard work from there but I’ve made my bed so I can sleep in it now and look forward to two strong races!”
“It’s been nice in general to be at a track where I know where I’m going! It’s a shame because we haven’t really made the most of that. We only qualified ninth but the Suzuki GSX-R felt good, I’ve improved and I did my best lap round here on the race tyres. It was a bit of a strange session, we didn’t get a chance to use the qualifiers and I’m not really happy to be ninth on the grid but it’s the race that counts. Hopefully the weather will be consistent tomorrow which-ever way and we can have some good races.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“A disappointing result in qualifying today after a strong weekend so far. We didn’t do enough to secure the first two rows with the race tyre run, and unfortunately the rain came as soon as both our guys went out on the qualifiers. We should have made one timed lap only on the race tyre and then gone straight to the qualifier but, as always, hindsight’s a wonderful tool and right now that doesn’t help us to improve the positions! We will look forward to the races, 21 laps here will be a very different proposition than one qualifying lap and I think we can vastly improve our grid positions and see both Suzuki’s challenging the top guys tomorrow.”
Front row for van der Mark at home
Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark will start tomorrow’s third round World Supersport championship race from the front row of the grid after setting the third fastest time in this afternoon’s qualifying session at Assen in the Netherlands.
The 21-year-old Dutch rider has been in impressive form all weekend and put a number of consistent mid-1m38s laps during the 45-minute session, his best being 1m38.228s, just one tenth off pole position man Florian Marino and 0.003s behind second-placed Kenan Sofuoglu.
Van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, made a good step forward today, adjusting his riding style on his Honda CBR600RR machine to suit the fast-flowing characteristics of the 4.542km Assen circuit and the tighter elements of the first sector.
Zanetti ended the day seventh fastest and will start tomorrow’s 18-lap race from the head of the third row.
Michael van der Mark - P3, 1m38.228s
I’m really happy because we’ve been fast all weekend. I improved on my fastest lap here and then I was able to show that we had a really good pace. In the past, my single lap in qualifying wasn’t always very good but I pushed really hard today because I had the feeling that I could go for pole position, which would have been amazing at my home race. Unfortunately, on my fastest lap, I was badly held up by another rider. I took a slow lap to re-set and on my last lap I was almost crashing everywhere – it was really fast but I had to slow again a little bit in the final sector. We have a really good race pace and I’m hoping for a dry race tomorrow.
Lorenzo Zanetti - P7, 1m38.843s
After free practice this morning I was a little angry and disappointed because I was losing so much time in the first sector. This afternoon I focused on this area and Michael [van der Mark] helped me on my first outing to show me a good line. Then I made a big step so I was happy. Of course, my target was the first two rows, but I lost a little bit at the end of qualifying. I need to find a good rhythm tomorrow and then I think I can fight near the front like in Aragon. I want to thank the whole team because they have helped me after a difficult start to the weekend.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Michael has been strong in all sessions, including qualifying, and just missed pole by a tenth. He’s third on the grid but his race pace is really fast so, if it’s dry tomorrow, it’s looking really good. Lorenzo had a difficult morning but he improved a lot in qualifying. We let him go behind Michael and he improved but then he did it on his own and we’re happy he was able to improve his pace. I think the guys are just about ready.
Superstock 600 - San Carlo Team Italia conquers crucial points for the championship
Under heavy rain at the Assen TT Circuit, Tucci is fifth after a strong comeback, Faccani tenth
Weather played a key role in today's European Stock 600 race in Assen. In tricky conditions, Finnish Niki Tuuli (Yamaha) took the win while San Carlo Team Italia riders were able to avoid mistakes, taking home precious points for the championship.
Learning how to ride their respective Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in the rain after a promising qualifying session in dry conditions, Andrea Tucci and Marco Faccani closed the race in fifth and tenth position respectively, matching the pace of the leaders in the final stages.
Thanks to this solid placement, San Carlo Team Italia contained the gap from the new championship leader within 7 points. Faccani and Tucci, both with 31 points, share third place in the rankings. In two weeks time, at the Autodromo Internazionale ‘Enzo e Dino Ferrari’ of Imola, the Italians of FMI will face the third round of the season and put to good use what they've learned so far and will be able to take advantage of the tests done on the Italian track a couple of weeks ago.
Andrea Tucci (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #44) 5th
"I'm happy with this result. I didn't get a good start, but still recovered many positions while trying not to make mistakes since it was my first time on the wet with this bike. As laps went by, my feeling on the Kawasaki improved, I felt comfortable and climbed back across the field. The last lap is my only regret, I could have done better than fifth, but many riders in front of me were fighting and delayed the group a bit. That said, I'm pretty satisfied. In two weeks we'll race in Imola, a track I know much better".
Marco Faccani (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #5) 10th
"It was easy to make mistakes in this race, so I can leave Assen happy, with good points for the championship. I've never ridden the Kawasaki in the wet, so I faced an entirely new experience early on. I took it sort of easy in the first few laps, to discover how the ZX-6R handled in these conditions, but progressively found a pace in line with that of those in front of me. All things considered, I'm happy to have finished in the Top 10. I got valuable experience under my belt now".
Cristiano Migliorati (Sporting Director - San Carlo Team Italia STK600)
"Given that the guys raced in almost impossible conditions, and also on a track unknown to them before this week-end, I'm very pleased with the final result. To close such a difficult race in the Top 10 with both riders shows the character and maturity of Andrea and Marco. We take home some crucial points, and are well within reach of the new leader. Great teamwork. We'll now try to take advantage of more favorable conditions, starting from next race in Imola, where we already tested a few weeks ago".
AYRTON AND CHRISTIAN CLOSING THE GAP
Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon continued their superb progress with the new Bimota BB3, finishing final practice and Superpole with the 14th and 16th fastest lap times respectively. But the gap between them and their competitors is closing rapidly. Ayrton’s best lap of 1:36.547 was just three tenths of a second slower than factory Aprilia rider Tony Elias in 10th place.
Considering that this was only the second time Christian has been on a Superbike, he did very well to finish just two tenths of a second behind Ayrton.
Ayrton Badovini - 1:36.547 (14th overall, 3rd EVO class)
“Today has been a pretty difficult day, mainly because of a front end problem, which was particularly noticeable in the last part of the track. But, as the day progressed, we improved the bike’s settings, step by step, and it was working much better towards the end.
I know that we will improve tomorrow and I am looking forward to the races a lot. I think I could’ve gone faster in Superpole 1, but I lost the line a little on my qualifying tyre and that was enough to prevent me from getting into Superpole 2.”
Christian Iddon - 1:36.772 (16th overall, 5th EVO class)
“We tried a lot of different things today and a lot of different settings and we have a good base level - base 1. So now we will try and improve on that and get the next base set-up. We found a lot of things that didn’t work, which is good because we can discard those ideas and work on what we feel will work better. The conditions weren’t great today, but I think we have made a big improvement from Aragon. Today was only my second time using a qualifying tyre and I am having to learn what they are about and how I can exploit them. I’m only a few tenths off tenth place, so I’m pretty happy really.”